Right now, our book club is reading short stories from Flannery O'Connor, a Catholic, 20th century American author.
The reading is rough, gruesome, grotesque, violent, tragic, and shocking. I've never had a taste for her writing. I know she writes about flawed characters who have an encounter with and are touched by grace. I know her stories are deeply Catholic. I know she writes with shock value to wake up her culture-drugged readers. I know she's hailed as one of the greatest writers of our time. But her stories to me, who love a good fairy tale with a happy ending, are hard to read; not because they challenge my beliefs about what a good story should be, but because they leave ugly and scary images of death, violence, and betrayal in my head.
Not all of her stories, mind you, are brutal. I think this book club is helping me to grow in an appreciation of her writing, but I'm still not a die-hard Flannery fan. We meet again tonight to discuss another of her stories... maybe my literary couth-ness conversion will continue.
Have you ever read Flannery O'Connor? What's your take?